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On the Move….

We’ve had a busy few weeks travelling up and down the country hosting test-drive events for Volvo dealerships. We’ve hosted pop-up events in Castle Dargan in Sligo and Castle Leslie in Monaghan for McGinley Motors’ Volvo and The Johnston Estate in Meath for Finlay Volvo Naas.

 

 

We leveraged local media with outside broadcasts from Ocean FM and LMFM and social media was a key driver in securing test-drives on the day and generating leads for the dealerships.

 

 

Representatives from the dealerships used the event to capture data and tailor the test drive experience for each customer’s specific needs. Watching them work was a good reminder that, while online is a great tool for research, the face to face engagement at events likes this is what turns test drivers into buyers.

 

 

Customers were also able to test-drive and learn more about Volvo’s latest electric vehicles. The Swedish brand is at the forefront of electrification and the efficient power from its pure electric cars, plug-in hybrids and mild hybrid technology will change the way we move forever.

Savouring Kilkenny….

We had the great pleasure of spending the October bank holiday weekend in Kilkenny for the 13th annual Savour Kilkenny food festival. Upwards of 50,000 people descended on Ireland’s medieval city last weekend to celebrate Kilkenny’s finest local artisan producers and their produce. Joining them was a host of Ireland and the world’s most innovative celebrities and opinion makers in the world of food.

 

 

International visitors for this year’s festival included best-selling Australian author and national TV star, Kim McCosker who brought her 4 Ingredients thinking to the Savour stage. Kim is pictured below taking some time out of her busy schedule to chat to host Edward Hayden on KCLR FM.

 

 

Other familiar faces included homegrown Irish stars Paul Flynn of The Tannery, Dungarvan, Clodagh McKenna, Catherine Fulvio, Rory O’ Connell, Roz Purcell, Darren Kennedy and Mount Juliet’s Ken Harker and John Kelly.

 

 

As well as the KBC Wellness Stage and food and fitness bootcamp with Kathryn Thomas, other festival highlights included tented food and beverage stands, a Medieval Banquet at the Medieval Mile Museum, cooking demonstrations and talks, and kids fun and dining events.

 

 

Roz Purcell hosted a vegan night and also demonstrated how to cook vegan to a packed marquee. This year also saw the introduction of the new Food Provenance award in partnership with Kilkenny LEO and KCLR where local eateries were recognised for the focus they place on local and regional producers and seasonal cooking.

 

 

It was wonderful to experience the very best of Kilkenny’s vibrant food culture and to witness the city and county’s core commitment to supporting local growers and producers and local cafes and restaurants. See savourkilkenny.com for details of next year’s festival.

 

 

Oakfest at Oakfield Park

One of the best things about this job is getting to see ideas which started out on a Powerpoint slide come to life. After suggesting it in our initial pitch to Oakfield Park in 2018, we were thrilled to see #Oakfest rock the park in the summer of 2018 and 2019. Headline acts Hermitage Green and The 4 of Us took to the stage in 2018, supported by Ryan Sheridan, Little Hours, Mark Black & The Trips, ROE, Chelsey Chambers, In Their Thousands, Katie Laffan and Cronin.

 

 

As well as a top-class musical billing, Oakfest at Oakfield Park had plenty for the whole family to enjoy, including a mini disco for little music lovers, arts and crafts, face-painting, puppetry, nature walks, train heritage, folklore and storytelling. Oakfest 2019 included a stellar line-up of artists with world-renowned Alabama 3 Acoustic headlining on Saturday 1st June and chart toppers The Academic (pictured below) headlining Sunday 2nd June.

 

 

Away from the main stage, festival goers could experience jazz in the garden, music in the maze, folk music in the marquee and Trad on the Train. The event also has a strong food offering with some of the northwest’s finest artisan food producers in attendance over the weekend.

 

Outreach Visit with Governor of the Central Bank

We were delighted to work with the Central Bank team on an outreach visit to Donegal last week. Governor Lane, Gráinne McEvoy (Director of Consumer Protection), Kevin Mullen, (Head of Asset Management Supervision) Geraldine Hannon (Head of Banking Supervision) and Claire O’Gorman (HR Business partner) visited the county as part of an extended outreach visit to build understanding of the Central Bank and listen to a range of views from the northwest.

 

 

We brought Irish Independent journalist and broadcaster, Richard Curran, on board to curate an evening event in Letterkenny with representatives from a cross-section of the local community. Questions on the night covered a broad range of topics including Brexit, SME lending, Credit Unions and competition in financial services.

 

 

The following morning, Wednesday 13 March, the team visited Errigal College, St. Eunan’s College and Loreto Secondary School. This presented an opportunity to hear views from the next generation and answer questions on the Central Bank’s work in Europe, bond rates, the next economic recession and careers at the Central Bank.

 

 

Regulatory technology and governance were topics of discussion when the Governor addressed students from Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) later that day. The visit ended with a tour of the CoLab, Letterkenny IT’s innovation and incubation centre and an introduction to some of its 60 technology-based enterprises.

 

Planning for 2015

As is customary for marketing heads at this time of year, we’re looking ahead and planning for 2015 to get some idea of what we can expect from the coming year. The good news is that there are lots of positives to take us into the new year and here’s our top 15…

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1. Ireland will continue to be the fastest growing economy in the European Union as Irish and foreign-owned companies start to invest again

2. Business and consumer confidence is set to increase even further than it did in 2014 

3. Retail sales are on a firm upward trend – meet your customer in 2015 (albeit a US one!)…

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4. Private consumption growth (year-on-year) turned positive for the first time since 2012 and this will continue into 2015

5. Unemployment (though still too high) is set to fall to 8% in 2015

6. Sustained growth is set to continue next year at around 3.6%

7. We get to celebrate some cool milestones like the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of our cultural icons, Nobel Laureate W.B. Yeats

8. Our current creatives continue to shine on a world stage, from musicians like Hozier (who played the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show earlier this month) to brilliant Irish designers like Don O’Neill, Simone Rocha and Emma Manley

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9. The Web Summit will be bigger and better… already a massive success this year and that’s without decent broadband. Imagine what it will bring in 2015, when hopefully (and we’re optimistic) the RDS will have sorted out its WIFI issues

10. Ireland is set to become a new technology hub for central and Eastern European firms looking to access the US market – that’s according to PwC

11. It’s set to be a good year for food lovers – 2015 marks the anniversary of the world’s first restaurant, which was opened 250 years ago by Mr. Boulanger in France. We suspect there’ll be lots of restaurants celebrating this milestone in their own unique way…

12. Content marketing remains king – more and more brands will become publishers of useful content that customers will actually thank them for. Writing is where it’s at…

13. Travel becomes more ‘local’ than ever and Ireland is perfectly placed to deliver the kinds of authentic experiences tourists are looking for

14. Our food scene is bustling and set to thrive even more next year

15. Ireland is open for business in 2015 – Are you? Now is the time to get your business ready and we are here to help…

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Tifamade

We love this from Tifamade – sandwiches and cakes on two wheels. Tiffany Iung started delivering sandwiches in and around Paris in 2010 when she was looking for a way to combine her two passions: feeding people and riding her bike.

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It’s homemade food with ingredients carefully chosen from the farmer’s market, all wrapped up in ecological packaging. The sandwiches and cakes are presented in a lovely old suitcase, which is very cute indeed.

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For a cool and quirky alternative closer to home, we love The Cake Cafe in Dublin

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PRWeek – PR And The Media Conference

‘Facebook is dead’ for young people, according to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat and 1Xtra news editor Rod McKenzie. He was speaking at the PRWeek PR and the Media conference

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Tell Your Own Story

 “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.” –                                                                                                                       Unknown

Regardless of whether or not you are part of the conversation, your customers are already telling the story of your business; or at least, their perception of your business. Word of mouth is as powerful (or damaging) as it ever was and now there are more channels than ever to spread the message.

Where previously brands controlled the means of broadcast (through PR, advertising and news coverage), consumers, empowered by social media, are now firmly in control. Naturally, this is a good thing. Social media is nothing to be scared of: you just need to be able to stand over everything you do, (which, irrespective of online chat, should be the case anyway).

If something is not right with your business offering, you need to address it – and social media is perfect for this. It allows you unprecedented access to your customers and enables you to turn unhappy ones into fans by dealing with them directly, quickly, and efficiently. So, be part of the conversation and tell your own story. And if you’re not sure where to start, then drop us a line.